“Liszt and Virtuosity — An International Symposium” will feature performances and 11 of the world’s prominent Franz Liszt scholars March 2-4 at the Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester.
As a composer, Liszt pushed the boundaries of what was technically possible on the piano as the instrument was evolving into its modern form. He performed with technical prowess, exoticism and charisma.
The cultural impact of “Lisztomania” continues to be seen in more recent times, including Ken Russell’s 1975 film starring Roger Daltrey of The Who and in a song on French band Phoenix’s Grammy Award-winning album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.”
The Rochester conference will explore the many facets of Liszt’s creative genius. The conference was organized by Robert Doran, associate professor of French and comparative literature at University of Rochester; Jonathan Dunsby, professor of music theory; and Ralph Locke, professor emeritus of musicology.
“In Liszt’s hands, virtuosity is a highly complex and musically potent phenomenon that is irreducible to the simple showmanship that has often unjustly marred Liszt’s reputation as a composer,” Doran said. “We will look at the legacy of his virtuosity at the intersection of musicology, music theory, music analysis, biography, performance studies and cultural history.”
The conference will feature keynote speaker Alan Walker, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Walker authored an award-winning, three volume Liszt biography that is considered the definitive work on the Hungarian composer.
The symposium will include presentations on topics ranging from “Liszt and 19th-Century Pianos” to his early techniques, compositions, teaching and improvisational practices. The program will feature a modern world premiere performance of an unpublished two-piano version of Hexameron, a collective work organized and supplemented by Liszt that featured variations by several prominent pianist-composers of the day, at 10:35 a.m. March 3, by Kenneth Hamilton, of Cardiff University in Wales; and London-based concert pianist Olivia Sham.
March 3-4 events will take place in Hatch Recital Hall at the Eastman School of Music. All symposium events, including musical performances, are free and open to the public.
For information, visit bit.ly/2lPAvS9.